Modernization in the North Carolina mountains
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Modernization in the North Carolina mountains

Oct 26, 2023

Bobby Weed Golf Design announced the completion of a multi-year modernization project on the Championship Course at Grandfather Golf & Country Club.

Situated northeast of Asheville, North Carolina, in a scenic valley between two mountain ridges, Grandfather's Championship Course was designed by Ellis Maples in 1968 as one of the Southeast's first mountain courses. Maples later constructed a second course for the club – called Mountain Springs – in 1977 to monetize the remaining real estate development inside the gates of Grandfather.

Bobby Weed Golf Design has provided consulting services focused on short-term improvements and master plans to both golf courses for over a decade. Weed, a nearby seasonal resident, has guided projects that have restored and improved upon Maples’ original intents.

"My past conversations with golf course architect, Ed Seay – who mentored under Ellis Maples and served as the on-site project manager – assisted our firm in understanding Mr. Maples’ true design objectives," Bobby Weed said. "Mr. Seay also revealed how challenging the golf course construction was in difficult mountain conditions. From those discussions, we have upheld their design philosophies, while improving upon the golf course's infrastructure, maintenance and aesthetics."

The following elements were included in Weed's latest project, which was executed during each fall and spring from 2019-22:


A tee shift on No. 11 to the left expands the playing angle and sight line for drives. A new tee complex was built on No. 16 to add length and reduce the severity of the dogleg down a treacherous creek bed. Both enhancements influence risk-reward strategy.


Fairway bunkers were methodically rebuilt on Nos. 8, 10, 11 and 18 for improved maintainability and visual contrast.


Diversion swales were reinstalled on the high sides of many holes to better contain surface runoff from encroaching onto golf holes. Herringbone drainage systems were also installed in every fairway to enhance surface and subsurface drainage, as well as retain firm playing conditions.

Both structures now convey water into a primary storm drain.

The primary storm drain that conveys water down the mountain and across the golf course was replaced. The corrugated metal pipes had oxidized and begun to fail since their original installation in the late 1960s. The culvert drains were replaced with HDPE pipe.

"Ongoing golf course infrastructure improvements are imperative to maintaining our high standards," Grandfather Golf & Country Club general manager John Cunningham said. "We are appreciative of Bobby Weed Golf Design for their long-term relationship and commitment to our club."

Pete Gerdon is Grandfather Golf & Country Club's director of agronomy.

Ed Seay Bobby Weed Tees Bunkers Infrastructure John Cunningham Pete Gerdon